Obsidian Theatre Company in association with Nightwood Theatre is thrilled to present the Toronto premiere of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize award-winning play Ruined. Written by Lynn Nottage and starring theatre and film veterans, Yanna McIntosh and Sterling Jarvis, the story is set in a small mining town in the civil war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ruined follows a young woman's path to Mama Nadi, a savvy businesswoman who, in the midst of a complex civil war, both protects and profits from the women whose bodies have become battlegrounds. At once heartbreaking and captivating, Ruined pays homage to the courageous and resilient women who must piece themselves together after the ruin.
Philip Akin, Obsidian Theatre Company Artistic Director and director of Ruined, remarks, "It was in 2008 that I first heard of this play and I have been working to produce it ever since. Ruined is a necessity for me. Well perhaps more of an obsession really. This story has hit me deep inside and no matter what, I needed to bring this play to the stage. This is a play of survivors. Not victims. And that is an African story that you do not see very often. The women in this play are the distillation of many women who have survived horrors we can only imagine and yet they are still wrapped in humanity. How could I not want these people to live here for our audience?"
Ruined stars seasoned theatre, film and television veterans, Yanna McIntosh and Sterling Jarvis. Akin has assembled an impressive creative team for this Toronto premiere including set designer Gillian Gallow, Costume Designer Nadine Grant, lighting designer Rebecca Picherack, Sound Designer Chris Stanton and stage manager Michael Sinclair.
Lynn Nottage, Playwright
Lynn Nottage was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1964. Her parents were a schoolteacher and a child psychologist. Keen on theatre from an early age, she attended New York's High School of Music and Art, before Brown University and Yale School of Drama. Her work often deals with the lives of African Americans and the struggles of women.
Apart from Ruined, Intimate Apparel is probably Nottage's best known play, centered on the story of an African-American woman's journey to independence, with her moving to New York to pursue her dreams and becoming a seamstress. Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine could be seen as a thematic sequel to this, and once again involves an African- American woman dealing with change in New York. Undine is a successful publicist living in
Manhattan until her husband leaves her taking all her money. She is forced to return to Brooklyn, to her former existence, and to deal with her working-class relatives. Nottage was awarded the Guggenheim Grant for Playwriting in 2005. In 2007 Nottage won the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant and the National Black Theatre Festival's August Wilson Playwriting Award. Ruined itself won several high-profile awards including an Obie for Best New American Play in 2008, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2009 and most recently, co-winner of the newly established Horton Foote Prizes, awarded on August 30, 2010 named in honour of the late legendary writer. Lynn Nottage is a visiting lecturer at Yale School of Drama and sits on The Dramatists Guild Council, an alumna of new American dramatists
Philip Akin, Director
Philip Akin is an accomplished actor/director/producer and has been the Artistic Director for the Obsidian Theatre Company since 2006.
Most Recent Directing:
Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage (2010) for Obsidian Theatre/ Citadel Theatre and the Canadian Stage Company, Factory Theatre: Toronto the Good by Andrew Moodie (2009), Obsidian Theatre Company: Black Medea by Wesley Enoch (2008),Born Ready by Joseph Jomo Pierre (2008), Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage (2008), International Playwrights Forum (2008)